Happy Valley experienced those issues on both ends of the court as the Lady Cyclones powered their way to a 70-44 victory in the semifinals of the District 1-AA girls basketball tournament at Bayless Gym on Monday night.
Elizabethton improved to 24-3 and moved into tonight’s championship game against Sullivan East (27-6) at 7 o’clock.
The Lady Patriots earned their first title-game appearance since 2001 with a 74-62 win over Sullivan South.
Kayla Marosites totaled 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists, but the Cyclones provided help up and down the lineup.
“We get contributions that don’t normally show up on the stat sheet,” said Cyclones’ head coach Len Dugger. “It’s the 50-50 ball we get, or knocking a ball loose that somebody else gets. We have a lot of kids contributing in mighty ways.”
Elizabethton hadn’t played in 11 days, partly because of the snow-delayed start of this tournament. Dugger said it showed at times.
“Were we a little rusty, yes we were,” said Dugger. “But I like our group. They play hard night in and night out. They gave a lot of effort tonight.”
Happy Valley hung around into the early part of the second half, trailing 36-28. But the Cyclones finally broke loose with a 12-0 run.
In the middle of two 3-pointers from Kayla Marosites, Megan Pietrowski scored a pair of buckets during the run. Pietrowski scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
“She came out and fumbled it around two or three times and got a little down,” said Dugger. “We talked to her at halftime, and she came out and worked hard in the paint.”
Marosites was her usual effective self, and she gave point guard Sarah Bradley credit for lifting the team to a better second half.
“She pumps us up a lot,” said Marosites. “She told us to come out and play hard in the third quarter.”
Kelci Marosites added 12 points for the Cyclones.
Happy Valley got 15 points from Mackenzie Blankenship. Kalee Johnson finished with eight points and five blocked shots.
Sullivan East 74
Sullivan South 62
It looked like the Lady Patriots were going to run South out of the gym, but after Coach Tori Haile was slapped with a technical the Rebels found a second wind.
They charged back from a 35-18 second-quarter deficit to tie the game at 42-42 in the third quarter. However, East got back in a rhythm thanks to consistent 3-point shooting and pulled away.
“I never felt like we were going to lose,” said Lady Patriots’ head coach Allan Aubrey. “I felt like we would make plays down the stretch. South played really well in the third quarter, but I always felt like we would make the next play.”
Brandy Watkins sparked the win, finishing with 27 points.
“She’s an all-conference player, and there’s a reason why,” said Aubrey. “I thought she played great. She’s tough. She knows how to play the game. I thought her and Jamison (Shaffer) were the keys.”
Shaffer finished with 15 points while Megan Addison added 13.
Sullivan South got a superb effort from Kayla Tipton, who finished with 19 points. Emma Carico totaled 17 points while Brayden Hutchins added 11.